Yarmegeddon 7 - Legends Of Rock: Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth

Words: Sara Harding and Liz Medhurst, Photos: Marc McGarraghy
20th March 2018

legends of rock

And it's that time of year again, where work and pleasure collide in the best possible way.

The weekend was one of those where we lost count of how many other hot tickets were on around town and country, a long list of gigs and events, but this festival is always top of the MetalTalk diary and with good reason.

You know the drill by now, a unique pairing of tributes and originals gives us a fabulous festie of fifty bands, crazy fans and giant Care Bears; this really is the music event of the year for many.

Fifty bands in four days with no sleep at Vauxhall Park, Great Yarmouth and our livers feel like the size of Australia.

The Legends in the title equally apply to the creators of this festival, Eddie and Elaine Yates, fondly known as Mr and Mrs Bastard and ably assisted by their son Jus and Debbie Soper, the First Family of Festivals.

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Dr And The Medics

As we checked into our luxury static caravans, we were all so happy to be back at our home from home. This site has everything – a swimming pool and slide, which Dutch 'Slim' Michaels famously got stuck in last year, and the staff at the park who went over and above duty to make sure the snow did not ruin our grown-up fun.

As in previous years proceedings were expertly compered by Andrew O'Neill and Marc Burrows, who were setting off on tour with their band, The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, immediately afterwards.

Before their arrival though, the whole shebang kicked off on Thursday with Dr And The Medics. As frontman Clive Jackson takes to the stage he becomes the DJ, not the GP, and his hilarious dose of bants and music anthems was just what we needed to get us into the weekend vibe.

We all promised each other that we would pace ourselves but as the psychedelic party pumped up, the lady petrols were flowing and we didn't hit the MetalTalk caravan until "walk of shame" o'clock.

Friday was our usual poolside meet up and swim and seeing most of our peers in their budgie smugglers had us reaching for the eye bleach.

This rocking reunion carried on as we all visited each other's caravans for Curry Club, Church of Chicken and Cheese and Pate night – anorexia was certainly beaten this weekend.

After some liquid refreshment it was time to get Friday rocking with Voodoo Six. It was a welcome return for the band, who were unable to play at their last slot in 2014 at Legends Of Rock - The Originals due to previous vocalist Luke Purdie leaving the band two days previously.

With Nik Taylor-Stoakes fully established and a really outstanding new album, 'Make Way For The King' (reviewed by MetalTalk here), this was a triumph.

legends of rock
Voodoo Six

The arena was packed to witness this balls to the wall slice of hard rock underpinned by Tony Newton's driving bass. Matt Pearce was king of the killer riffs, and the band were polished and pumped.

We knew things were going to get messy when we spotted Legends of Rock leg-end Charlie Brookes being escorted out of the men's bogs. The weekend is shaping up nicely.

Up next were the hatted dudes of the Last Great Dreamers – a real nod to good old retro rock'n'roll. You can't go wrong when the drummer has better guyliner than you. These guys are brilliant songwriters – blasting out some real belters that had us all singing along.

A change of pace with a couple of tributes next and The Sex Pistols Experience totally delivered – literally they not only sounded like the real deal but looked like them too – including when Johnny Rotten wiped his snot on Sid Vicious's jacket.

legends of rock
The Sex Pistols Experience

Billy Kulke and his Letz Zep, back from their European tour, were simply epic – those of us that have had a sneaky read of the frontman's forthcoming book know that it's a real page-turner.

Ben Poole delivered us his brilliant bluesy powerful set – another incredible originals band with rock and soul to go with the blues.

Hi-On Maiden, the band approved by Bruce Dickinson, had everyone punching the air. Our friend John Oakley gave us great Eddie and the arena was packed to the rafters with Maiden fans.

Our very own Voice of Legends, Jimi Anderson, was up next with his own band, The Jimi Anderson Group. A high energy set, with so many highlights, 'Welcome To The Revolution' and 'Rise Up' among them; this was top quality.

Jimi has recently been announced as the new vocalist for AOR stalwarts Lionheart, and it's hard to think of a better fit; an appointment that pleases us greatly.

legends of rock
Letz Zep

After Fleetwood Bac, who are always a pleasure to watch, it was back to the originals and one of the best bands of the weekend, Syteria. Three hot chicks and Pablo on drums - these are a band to watch out for.

The whole dance-floor was packed with men taking photos – these girls not only look great but sound great too, as you would expect with the members. Girlschool's Jax Chambers features on guitar, Julia Vocal on vocals and guitar, and in charge of bass is Kiera Kenworthy who oozes star quality.

They perform as a band, their choppy new wave style packed a massive punch, especially when combined with intelligent lyrics, as heard in debut album 'Rant-A-Bot'.

legends of rock

Barely time to catch our breath before witnessing another true Legend up close and personal with Don Airey And Friends. Hall Of Heavy Metal History inductee Don's friends tonight were Carl Sentance from Nazareth on vocal duty, Simon McBride, Jon Finnigan and Dave Marks.

This cannot be described as a covers set as Don Airey actually played on all of these tracks – 'Still Got The Blues', 'Since You've Been Gone', 'Mr Crowley' and more and with over 280 albums to his credit, there's plenty to choose from. The quality and talent shone through bright and clear – a set that many felt was worth the ticket price alone.

legends of rock
Don Airey And Friends

The night finishes with one of the best jams we've ever witnessed courtesy of the Goodges, augmented by the sight of musicians in bands yet to come rocking in a corner, lamenting the schedule and wondering how they were going to follow Don Airey.

Saturday is fancy dress day and the incredible imagination of the Legends of Rock family go further than most.

The day kicked off with the incredible Owen Davidson and his Black Country Community, back after last year's triumph and proving that was no fluke. Owen's pipes, Jon Cooke's creative keyboards, Ben Bicknall's Joe Bonamassa licks and Johnny Sequeria's Bonham-esque drums were incredible.

It's more than the performance, they really feel it and tap into the songs - there's no phoning it in here, it's the real deal. Eddie Bastard leapt onto the stage at the end to say that they were already booked for 2019.

Up next was our favourite bitch, Sky Hunter and her incredible powerhouse of a band, StoneWire. We were promised new material and they certainly delivered with brand new and really dirrrrty southern rock, our favourite track being one so new, they had called it 'HBSC Transaction'.

As the set evolved, more shots of tequila were being handed to Sky – she really is the most bad ass frontwoman ever.

legends of rock

Hopefully everyone has been following StoneWire Sunday, and mixing it up a bit this weekend was StoneWire Saturday, where we got to hear in full several of the songs that may make it to the album and we are in for a treat.

The Peckham Cowboys provided a spacey, sleazy, short but very sweet set. Billed as a knees-up, there is nothing frivolous about this set which contained thrilling and louche versions of 'Don't Damn The Hypnotist' and 'Crack House Blues'.

Rounding off a trio of originals we have more girl power and this time it's from Alabama 3's Aurora Dawn and her Screamin' Skulls, one of the best live bands we've ever witnessed. Aurora goes from bluesy ballsy ballads to the full-on power pipes of 'Proud Mary'.

The rest of the night played out with some of the greatest tribute acts on the circuit with stupendous sets from V8, Rammlied, Rockworkz, Band Of Friends, Saxonised, Legends Of AOR and Live Wire.

Providing the centrepiece of Saturday night main stage was Rainbow In Rock and as Marc Burrows said in his introduction, the Rainbow/Deep Purple catalogue is the pinnacle of classic rock and as far as we are concerned these guys are the only band to call as no-one does it better.

Walkway are one of the best unsigned bands to sell out venues and tonight's set was as always on point. Every year they get a rapturous reception, and it's well-deserved with their effervescence and charm.

From now on this is where is gets messy – the lady petrol was flowing and we were all taking in all the incredible fancy dress. One of our writers had a night so epic they didn't get back to the caravan until 1.30pm the next day having done the walk of shame covered in Ace Frehley's make-up...

legends of rock
The Peckham Cowboys

They weren't alone in this – at the start of Sunday's proceedings, a hungover Andrew O'Neill didn't bound on to the V Lounge stage to introduce the next band, as is his wont, but shuffled cautiously on, explaining that he had only just got up and frightened himself by the sight of his bed being turned into a Turin Shroud comprised of his own make up. We can relate.

The band in question were the amazing Gasoline Outlaws – just what we need to blast away the hangovers. Full of Belfast charm and grit, this band are a great addition to the new breed of British rockers.

We were nicely rocked awake with the quality of tracks 'Nothing On Me', 'Heart And Soul' and 'Outlaws' – another festival triumph.

Up next is Dobermann – a killer trio from Italy with bigger and better hair than most chicks; they literally were Head and Shoulders above the rest. As we settled into this solid setlist, so did the audience who gave us some of the best dancing displays in the land. This band killed it.

legends of rock
Aurora Dawn

Then there were more incredible tribute acts from Alter Eagles, Secret Police, Stone Free and Sack Sabbath.

One of the highlights was saved until the end - Les Bink's Priesthood. Les is a friend and a legend, and played on some of Judas Priest's flagship albums. This was not a tribute band but a chance to hear the songs performed by one of the originals.

And what a show they put on. So many classics – 'Hell Bent For Leather', an astounding 'Sinner', 'The Green Manalishi', 'Beyond The Realms Of Death'... they just kept on coming.

With ace quitarists Simon Pinto and Gus Mark handling the Tipton/Downing partnership with flair this set was in overdrive and we nearly exploded with joy to experience such authentic British Metal up close and personal.

Alas then we had to head off early as we had to get back for a funeral of a Legend's Legend, Tommy Baker.

We cannot wait for next year's Leg-ends of Rock. In fact, the suitcase may not even get unpacked, as this event sells out quick so get your deposits in for next year's Yarmaggedon 2019 as well as Cyprus Rocks this autumn for some rocking fun in the Sun.

Yarmageddon once more earned its place at the top of the tree by bringing together the perfect mix of people and bands. A quick tot up on the back of a discarded setlist tells us that out of the total tributes, 60% of the originals are still around and touring in some format.

Get out and see them while you still can, and celebrate once more the opportunity to see so much of their music in one place. And then come back to Yarmageddon for next year's carnage of the best kind.


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This article is dedicated to Tommy Baker – Rock in Peace our dear friend.

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